The Annual North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards gave the ‘2016 Concept Truck of the Year’ award to Volkswagen for the BUDD-e all-electric minibus concept. BUDD-e is a bit polarizing. While most EV enthusiasts would be happy to see a “microbus” with a 100 kWh battery pack, the design of the vehicle generally hasn’t been well-received and reminds of people of the ‘weirdmobile’ stigma attached to EVs, but the panel of automotive journalists acting as judges for the award disagreed.

Either way, it’s interesting to see an all-electric vehicle win the award for ‘Concept Truck of the Year’. That must be a first.

While the concept was unveiled only earlier this year at CES, VW already greenlighted the vehicle for production and it is expected to be the first vehicle built on the automaker’s new electric platform MEB.

MEB will allow VW to bring to market electric vehicles made to be electric from the ground up. The platform uses the now familiar concept of a large battery pack extending flat between the axles. We’ve seen Porsche and Faraday Future recently unveil similar platforms, which was pioneered by GM, later popularized and mass-produced by Tesla for the Model S.

In the case of the BUDD-e, VW expects its 101 kWh battery pack to allow for up 233 miles of range.

The vehicle is expected to make it to market in 2020-ish. It’s likely that it will have to compete with Tesla’s own recently announced electric ‘minibus’.

Last year’s winner was Hyundai’s Santa Cruz concept.

Full press release:

BUDD-e NAMED “2016 CONCEPT TRUCK OF THE YEAR” AT 15th ANNUAL NORTH AMERICAN CONCEPT VEHICLE OF THE YEAR AWARDS

Volkswagen’s all-electric microbus concept is recognized for visionary design that addresses the mobility and utility needs of the 21st century 

Herndon, VA (August 1, 2016) — Volkswagen of America, Inc. is pleased to announce that the Volkswagen BUDD-e has been named “2016 Concept Truck of the Year” at the 15th Annual North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards. Judges recognized the all-electric microbus concept for raising the standards of automotive design, with features that address both the utility and mobility needs of the present and future. The award ceremony was held at the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s in Plymouth, Mich., on July 31, 2016.

“We are thrilled that the BUDD-e has been honored as 2016 Concept Truck of the Year and would like to thank the panel of judges for recognizing Volkswagen’s innovation,” said Dr Hendrik Muth, Director of Product Marketing, Volkswagen of America, Inc., accepting the award. “We are determined to lead the future of automotive design, and BUDD-e shows the capabilities of our all-new electric vehicle architecture and further advances connectivity and infotainment.”

The first Volkswagen vehicle built using the company’s Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB), the BUDD-e captures the brand’s heritage, while offering a glimpse into the company’s next-generation connectivity, infotainment and EV technologies. The BUDD-e concept’s highlights include:

  •  A 101 kWh battery that gives a manufacturer estimated range of up to 233 miles.
  • Gesture control 2.0 that enables intuitive operation of interior and exterior features.
  • Seamless communications with smart home and smart car technology, and infotainment technologies that turn travel into a fully interactive, intuitive experience.

More than two dozen jurors participated in the selection process of the North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards. Twenty vehicles, each introduced to North America during this season’s auto shows in Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, Toronto, and New York, were judged.

The four award categories included: “Production Preview Vehicle,” “Concept Car,” “Concept Truck,” and “Most Significant Concept Vehicle.” The BUDD-e beat out three other finalists in the “Concept Truck” category, which assessed vehicles with the primary attributes of user-configurable cargo volume and weight capacity. “Most Significant Concept Vehicle” is chosen from among winners of the three other categories and is determined by the car with the highest total score.

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